The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has disciplined a teacher after she falsified a medical certificate.

The teacher suffered an injury to her back while working at an early childhood centre. After seeking medical treatment, she provided her employer with a medical certificate on which the date for returning to work had been modified, lengthening the period by a week.

Initially, the teacher attempted to explain the modification as the result of a conversation with her family GP. In a subsequent meeting it was admitted this conversation never took place and she had changed the date.

The Tribunal described the teacher’s conduct as “likely to bring the profession into disrepute” because honesty and integrity are fundamental values of the teaching profession. Her actions amounted to serious misconduct under the established criteria for theft or fraud. She was therefore censured, the register annotated, and must inform any employer of the Tribunal’s decision for the next two years.

This case highlights the seriousness with which modification of medical documentation is taken in the workplace. Regardless of the circumstances, official documentation should never be tampered with, and fresh versions should always be acquired from the appropriate professional if there is a mistake.

If you have been accused of falsifying a document, or you believe an employee has done so, it is important to obtain advice from an experienced lawyer in relation to your circumstances.

Alan Knowsley
Education Lawyer